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19 Junio 2017, 04:45 | Gerardo Tarin
With Pakistan's front-line pacer Mohammad Amir declared fit to play in the final after sitting out the previous match, he alongside new ball bowler Junaid Khan will be the key against India to provide their side with early breakthroughs.
Preview: A wounded Pakistan will be out for revenge while India will aim to maintain their dominance when the arch-rivals meet in the final of the Champions Trophycricket tournament at The Oval in London on Sunday.
This was the first ever Champions Trophy title for Pakistan.
Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali made the ideal start for Pakistan even with Zaman "losing" his wicket only for it to be a no-ball and India missing out on a run-out all before the opener reached 10. They won by 180 runs against an India side widely tipped to prevail before the start. Amir's was, make no mistake, the ODI spell that Pakistan cricket fans would have yearned for from him since he was welcomed back into the worldwide fold a year ago: 26 dot balls, appreciable movement, accuracy and the bloodied heart of India's batting in his grip.
Amir was nearly unplayable at times.
He was reprieved on three, caught behind off a Bumrah no-ball, and went on to carve, slice and belt his way to a 92-ball century. Pakistan outplayed India in all departments to win their maiden title in the tournament history and gave a fitting reply to their critics who were backing defending champions, India, of bagging another title.
But Amir's very next ball saw Kohli, aiming legside, get a leading edge to point where Shadab Khan made no mistake with the catch. Mohammad Amir and Fakhar Zaman starred for Pakistan in the final.
Once last hope Hardik Pandya (76) was run out, the writing was on the wall as India were bundled out for just 158 with nearly 20 overs remaining.
Pandya was fearless and he entertained but his chaotic run-out, following a mix-up with Jadeja, was pretty much summed how India performed today in the field.
Then came the resurrection from the dead, the kind even the Gods would be proud of, to not just reach the final, but to annihilate their opponents in that final, the very opponents they lost so easily to in the first match of the ICC Champions Trophy. Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Imad Wasim too chipped in with handy knocks while a late 57-run dash lifted Pakistan to a solid 338.
Pakistan came into the competition as the lowest-ranked one-day global nation and their status as outsiders appeared justified when they were thumped by 124 runs by their arch-rivals at Edgbaston earlier this month. He didn't show any nerves which Pakistan usually do against India.
For a team that can't play global cricket at home due to security issues, the victory has far-reaching implications.
India, on the other hand, who played to their potential throughout the tournament, were struggling against the disciplined Pakistani batting lineup and failed to utilise the conditions completely.
India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with an economical one for 44 in 10 overs, helped atone for some wayward bowling by his team-mates in an innings featuring 13 wides and three no-balls - almost three extra overs.
Put in to bat, Pakistan got off to a ideal start.
After being put into bat first Pakistan captain Sarfraz said "we wanted to bowl first but the toss is out of our control". Nearly half of the score was made by Hardik Pandya with a gutsy 43-ball 76. Soon, Zaman completed his century in 92 balls through a sweep at the square leg.
Zaman hit 12 fours and 3 sixes in his innings. When we arrived here, we just played like we have nothing to lose.
There was a still a seat-of-the-pants element to Pakistan's progress, though, and it was not the greatest surprise when the opening stand ended with a run-out mix-up in which both batsmen were stranded at the same end. Kedar Jadhav took a simple catch at the deep cover to dismiss the 35-year-old batsmen in the 40th over.
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